Archive by Author

Quick Smoke: La Galera Habano Chaveta

24 Sep 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

la-galera

A new offering from Tabacalera Palma in the Dominican Republic, La Galera pays homage to the craft of cigar making from start to finish. From the line’s name (“la galera” is a factory’s rolling room) to the individual vitola designations (each an industry-related name) and the incredible band (intricate scenes of a tobacco field and a lector at work), it’s an impressive presentation. The cigar also delivers on performance and flavor, with a complex blend: Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Dominican Corojo binder, and a mix of Dominican fillers, including Pelo de Oro. At just a shade over $6 for the robusto-sized Chaveta (5 x 50), this sweet-tasting, medium-strength smoke is definitely one to try.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: MBombay Vintage Reserve Lancero 1973

21 Sep 2016

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This is a cigar made to stand out.mbombay-lancero

At 8.5 inches in length, it’s an inch longer than the traditional Cuban lancero size. After removing the cedar sheath that covers about two-thirds of the Vintage Reserve, the unwrapped foot is pronounced. At the head, a small pigtail cap is easy to miss.

But where this version of MBombay’s annual limited edition—500 boxes of 25 shipped to retailers, according to company head Mel Shah—truly shines is with its flavors.

It begins with light, enticing spice before the Ecuadorian wrapper becomes engaged. At this point, with all components burning, the spice begins to be overshadowed by notes of wood.

About a third of the way down, there’s a rich taste of cinnamon that lasts throughout. It is most enjoyable, especially as it mixes with the wood, cedar, and tobacco sweetness along the way. Strength is in the medium range.

The filler is a mix of Dominican and Peruvian tobaccos, while the binder is Dominican. Like other cigars from MBombay, the Vintage Reserve is rolled in Costa Rica. The price tag is $13.50 a stick.

I smoked two of these and found them to perform excellently. The burn was straight, the draw smooth, and smoke production top-notch. As with all thin cigars—the ring gauge is 38—it’s necessary to smoke slowly to avoid overheating.

Perhaps as a backlash to the trend toward humongous ring gauges, some smokers have embraced lanceros. In fact, you’ll often see the vitola dubbed the “connoisseur’s size.”

I’m not sure that’s quite rational. Judging someone by the size of the cigars they smoke doesn’t make any more sense to me than judging cigars themselves based on size.

In the case of the Vintage Reserve, I think it’s a tasty cigar that any smoker would enjoy, from connoisseur to amateur. It scores four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Coronado by La Flor Double Corona

10 Sep 2016

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

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La Flor’s original Coronado was a StogieGuys.com favorite, gaining a five-stogie rating in 2007, as well as favorable Quick Smoke reviews. It was reintroduced last year in five reasonably priced vitolas. There’s a different band, but the blend is the same: a sun-grown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper with Dominican filler and binder. I found it every bit as enjoyable as the original.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: LFD

Cigar Review: Cornelius & Anthony Venganza Robusto

7 Sep 2016

VenganzaThis new offering from Cornelius & Anthony (C&A) is a powerful, rich cigar that expands the company’s relationship with Erik Espinosa’s La Zona factory in Nicaragua.

It also represents what is probably C&A’s strongest smoke to date, with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and filler and binder from Nicaragua. I found its power to be a notch up from the Daddy Mac, which also sports a Habano wrapper, that one from Brazil.

Venganza, Spanish for revenge, was released at this summer’s industry convention. It comes in four sizes. I smoked two samples of the Robusto (5 x 52) that were supplied by C&A. It lists for $9.25. All of the vitolas come in boxes of 20.

The pre-light aroma is mouthwatering and rich. But when I lit the first one, it was a bit sharp, especially in the initial third. That diminished a little going along, but I decided to give the second one more humidor time before I smoked it.

Wise decision. Even just a few weeks rest seemed to have smoothed out the rough edges. In fact, in the second smoke, the sharpness was replaced by a rich woodsiness in the opening.

Venganza, which sports the regular ornate C&A band and a secondary identifying one, is a fairly complex smoke. I picked up some pepper, cedar, and flavors of coffee and nuts along the way. The final third was marked by a tobacco sweetness.

And, while it is a strong smoke, it is by no means a barn-burner, nor is it likely to take the top of your head off.

Burn and smoke production were first-rate. The draw in each was excellent, and the white ash held firm until I tapped it off.

All in all, a very good cigar, and one I’d recommend. I rate Venganza four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Commentary: Cigar Consistency is No Hobgoblin

29 Aug 2016

Tobacco Field

Consistency with cigars is a trait often observed in the breach. We can all think of manufacturers who’ve had a hard time shaking a reputation for a lack of consistency.

Of course, we can also think of companies whose products are remarkably consistent. Yet it is not often included among the common compliments cited when cigars are reviewed.

Nowadays, with the proliferation of limited editions and one-shot issues where consistency is of little import, I fear it may be regarded even less. I think that’s a shame.

Knowing that a cigar you smoke today will be like one you smoked last month or last year—as well as a year or two from now—is important.

I thought about this the other day when I lit a Perdomo Lot 23 Robusto. I first smoked a Lot 23 (a Toro) more than nine years ago. My review wasn’t particularly favorable. Then, about three years ago, I went back to the line and sampled the Robusto. I changed my mind. It was a most enjoyable smoke.

And, since that time, I’ve almost always had at least a few of the moderately priced Lot 23s in my humidor. When I pick one up I know I’ll have a good experience.

Making consistent cigars is no small trick. It involves a great deal of investment. Investment in time, material, and personnel.

First, there’s got to be enough tobacco to keep making the cigars. And that tobacco must be carefully processed and aged. Only a talented and skilled blender can note the natural variances in harvest years and make the necessary tweaks to get the same results. Only skilled workers can produce the cigars to standards year in and year out.

Consistency, too, seems to be something many cigar smokers don’t value much when looking at cigar prices. Paying $15 or $20—or more—without complaint for a limited edition cigar is quite common. Yet many smokers resent a similar price for a cigar that’s been manufactured to consistent high standards for years.

All of which is something to contemplate the next time you light up or go searching through the humidor at your local tobacconist.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Tip: Help a Service Member Enjoy a Good Smoke

17 Aug 2016

The other day an email landed in my inbox from a U.S. Army captain stationed overseas. He wondered if it would be possible to get some cigars for his soldiers.

Troops PhotoCapt. Justin Foster’s unit, whose mission is providing sophisticated communications support, shipped out about three months ago from its home in the Baltimore area.

“I have many soldiers in my 51-man formation that enjoy a great cigar,” he wrote. “I do like to give care packages as much as possible and send nice things out to the soldiers.”

StogieGuys.com has been pushing for cigar donations to the troops for years. Sometimes it’s reminding readers to check out Cigars for Warriors. Sometimes it’s urging you to assist individual units like Capt. Foster’s. And sometimes we suggest you to contribute to a program at your local shop.

Let’s face it, with considerably fewer troops overseas now than there were in the recent past, there’s not as much attention focused on soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines as there was. It’s easy to forget.

But that’s exactly the time they need a boost the most. Their jobs aren’t any easier, their risks any smaller, or their chances to get a good cigar any better.

I asked Capt. Foster if he could send me a photo of some of his troops enjoying a cigar, and he did. They may be sitting at a picnic table, but I don’t think it’s much of a picnic where they are. I’m sure a cigar break is more than welcome.

So, dig into your humidor. I’m sure you can find a few good sticks to send along for inclusion in Capt. Foster’s care packages. The address:

HHC 392ND ESB
CPT Justin Foster
APO AE 09330

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys/Capt. Foster

Cigar Review: Davidoff Colorado Claro Aniversario No. 3

8 Aug 2016

Box

The Short Perfecto in this line is one of my all-time favorite cigars.

UntitledSo, I couldn’t help but approach the larger Aniversario No. 3 with a bit of trepidation. Would this version—a 6-inch, 50-ring gauge toro—have the same pleasing impact?

I’ve smoked a few of the other Colorado Claro vitolas in addition to the Short Perfecto. But with this box of the Aniversario No. 3, it’s the first time I’ve been able to evaluate one on a consistent basis.

Davidoff first released the Colorado Claro in the early 2000s, then brought it back in 2009. It’s something of a spinoff of the Special Series, with its own lovely Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper that Davidoff describes as “a very rare wrapper that makes all the difference in taste.” The binder and filler are from the Dominican Republic, where the cigars are rolled.

Retail price for the Aniversario No. 3 is about $25, and the toro comes packaged in boxes of ten. There are currently five vitolas in the line.

With the many new Davidoff productions in recent years, such as the Winston Churchill, Yamasá, and the soon-to-be-gone Puro d’Oro, the Colorado Claro’s strength no longer stands out as it once did.

What does stand out, however, is the fine balance among the flavors. The cigar begins with a delicate mix of tobacco sweetness and pepper, which holds on through the finish. Along the way, I also found nuts, wood, a bit of coffee, and the occasional note of that typical Davidoff mustiness.

As expected from Davidoff, the basics are first-class: construction, burn, smoke production, and draw were excellent in each of those I smoked.

All in all, it is an excellent cigar, one with the complexity and strength to please a seasoned smoker while remaining accessible to a newcomer.

For myself, I would rate the Aniversario No. 3 just a shade below the Short Perfecto. I believe that compact size and shape combine for a little more punch that sets it apart. Remember, though, I’m talking only a matter of degrees.

And none of that should detract from the Aniversario No. 3. It’s an extraordinary cigar that I rate four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys